Accounting for Bringup Time on Software Projects

Building a new system from scratch is hard. There is research and experimentation to do and hurdles that can blow apart the feedback loop you use to measure velocity and fuel progress toward your first release. This can be frustrating for project managers who want to convey progress, as well as developers who are trying […]

Three Ways to Make Your Client’s Life Easier

Taking care of your clients is, as everyone knows, vital for a service-based organization. You were hired to do a job for one or both of these reasons: The client doesn’t have the expertise to do it. The client doesn’t have the time to do it. Reason 1 requires some targeted education and consulting from […]

How to Apply Control Engineering Theory to Your Relationships

Managing a long-term client relationship, or any relationship for that matter, takes work. You have two organizations, each with its own business goals, attempting to interact with one another through two or more people. Those people also each have their own personal goals and their own way of interpreting and applying all of these goals […]

How Teaching Board Games Makes Me a Better Consultant

For the past two years, I’ve attended a little-known convention called Gen Con. Okay, depending on who you ask, it might not be that little-known. It draws over 60,000 unique attendees (over 200k visits throughout four days). Besides spending time enjoying everything at the convention—from visiting exhibitor booths to making purchases, trying out new games, […]

Five Steps for Tying Up a Project Unexpectedly Cut Short

As consultants, we always have to be prepared for the unexpected. In rare cases, the surprise can be that a project is suddenly wrapping up. This can happen for a number of reasons. It could be a clerical error in accounting that resulted in the project unexpectedly reaching the limit of its budget. It could […]

Wizard Consultant Skills – Protection Spells for Saying “No”

Atomic is home to lots of very high-level wizards. Their abilities and specialties span the whole of the software craftsmanship space, and each one has their own skill set to leverage when tackling the many unique problems that come through our door. I’m not a very high-level wizard yet, but I’ve found that deliberately striving […]

Problems Happen; How Do You Deliver the Bad News to Clients?

We’d like it if things always went smoothly, but in life, they seldom do. This truth holds for custom software projects as well—we struggle with unforeseen bugs, scope creep, a third-party integration that doesn’t work, team velocity lower than expected, projects more complex than originally thought, etc. In these situations, it’s helpful to remember how […]